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Entrepreneurship in Academic Curriculum 24 April, 2013

Mr. Sundar Vaidyanathan

Mr. Sundar Vaidyanathan, Co - Founder and Managing Partner, Karsun Solutions LLC led the Weekly Discussion on 24th April 2013 with his talk on “Entrepreneurship in Academic Curriculum”.

The talk mainly consisted of tweaks the academic curriculum to cover entrepreneurship.

Karsun Solutions

Karsun Solutions LLC was founded in Virginia, U.S. in2010 and is now a 45 member team with over $10 Million in sales. They focus on Optimising process, Modernising IT, Facilitating Change.

Who is an Entrepreneur?

An Entrepreneur is one who can create value using a product or service by speeding up process and hence bringing about time reduction, reduce cost or improve quality of a process. This ideally results in job creation and wealth creation. A great example of entrepreneurship is the founding of Google in 1998. Search got faster, cheaper and of great quality post 1998. However, financial gain is not really the motive for entrepreneurship. People don’t really start companies to make a lot of money.

Entrepreneurial Triggers

There are mainly four triggers for entrepreneurship.

1. Competency

Academic Interest and Professional Experience is usually a prerequisite for any entrepreneurial activity. This is where you gain knowledge and insights about a particular industry where you want to start up.

2. Drive

Drive is the internal force for success and achievement.

A lot of people with competency do not have drive and vice versa and so they lose out on the entrepreneurial bandwagon.

3. Environment

A lot of factors such as Government, Society and Peers influence your decision to become an entrepreneur.

4. Funds

Availability of capital is also a great trigger for entrepreneurship.

Mr. Sundar Vaidyanathan

Entrepreneurial Process

Opportunity

Entrepreneurship usually starts with opportunity. People should be prepared to seize the opportunity which may present itself as an idea during academics or while working in an industry. There should be a certain market size for the idea to materialise.

Team

Entrepreneurs rarely move alone. Usually there would be a team of about 2 to 3 motivated individuals inspired by the idea who go about setting up the firm.

Resources

Once the opportunity is sighted and the team is put together, you would need resources in the form of funding, tools and manpower to materialise the idea.

Knowledge, skills and experience

The core technical knowledge required to set up needs to be associated with the following skills for success in entrepreneurship.

Interpersonal skills

These skills include Influencing, Negotiations, Communication, Team Work, Conflict Management etc.

Marketing Skills

Skills such as Product or Service Positioning, Pricing, Branding, Segmentation, Networking, Partnerships etc. are vital to an entrepreneur.

Sales

Talent in Business Relationships, Leads, Opportunities, Teaming, Proposal Capture, Delivery Support and Follow - on Sales is mandatory for an entrepreneur.

Finance

An entrepreneur needs to be adept with Accounting, Invoicing, Collection, Payroll, Taxes and Budgeting.

Administration

Areas like Talent Acquisition, People Development, Salary and Bonus, Infrastructure and Project Management will come up in the Entrepreneurial Journey.

Legal

Non Disclosure, Intellectual Property, Contract Management, Employee Agreements and Teaming Agreements are vital in setting up companies.

Current State of the Curriculum

In the entrepreneurial context, the curriculum needs to be tweaked with respect to Syllabus, Teaching Quality, Learning Assessment and Extra Curricular activities.

Syllabus

What is the core objective of the program? Is it to get a job or to create jobs?

Are the concepts introduced purely analytical in nature or is there a creative aspect to it as well?

Is the Projects Individual in nature or Team Oriented?

Is the Content Input purely academic or is there Industry Subject Matter Experts involved?

Teaching Quality

Is the Teaching Approach Text book based or is there a case study approach involved as well?

Is the Skills Emphasis entirely Technical or are there Non Technical aspects as mentioned above as well?

Is the Industry Involvement Employment based or Entrepreneurial in nature?

Is the Learning Mode Theory heavy or are there Hands-on approaches as well. Hands on sessions do not necessarily imply Lab sessions alone.

Learning Assessments

Is the Learning Emphasis based on Memorisation or Understanding?

Are the Problems given during the academic session well defined, which can be solved using application of formulae or are there open ended real life problems as well. Open Ended problems do not necessarily have right or wrong answers.

Is the Feedback Technical only or is there Non-Technical feedback as well?

Is Evaluation Individual or Teamwork based?

Extra Curricular

Students learn a lot from extracurricular work such as Community Work, University Events, Clubs and Sports.